Thursday, May 22, 2008

God Calls Gideon To Rescue His People

The Midianites Attack Israel

Judges 6

1Again the Israelites did what the LORD said was wrong. So for seven years
the LORD handed them over to Midian. 2Because the Midianites were very
powerful and were cruel to Israel, the Israelites made hiding places in the
mountains, in caves, and in safe places. 3Whenever the Israelites planted crops,
the Midianites, Amalekites, and other peoples from the east would come and
attack them. 4They camped in the land and destroyed the crops that the Israelites
had planted as far away as Gaza. They left nothing for Israel to eat, and no sheep,
cattle, or donkeys. 5The Midianites came with their tents and their animals like
swarms of locusts to ruin the land. There were so many people and camels they
could not be counted. 6Israel became very poor because of the Midianites, so they
cried out to the LORD.

7When the Israelites cried out to the LORD against the Midianites, 8the
LORD sent a prophet to them. He said, “This is what the LORD, the God of
Israel, says: I brought you out of Egypt, the land of slavery. 9I saved you from the
Egyptians and from all those who were against you. I forced the Canaanites out
of their land and gave it to you. 10Then I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God.
Live in the land of the Amorites, but do not worship their gods.’ But you did not
obey me.”

The Angel of the Lord Visits Gideon

11The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak tree at Ophrah
that belonged to Joash, one of the Abiezrite people. Gideon, Joash’s son, was
separating some wheat from the chaff in a winepress to keep the wheat from the
Midianites. 12The angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and said, “The LORD
is with you, mighty warrior!”

13Then Gideon said, “Sir, if the LORD is with us, why are we having so much
trouble? Where are the miracles our ancestors told us he did when the LORD
brought them out of Egypt? But now he has left us and has handed us over to the

14The LORD turned to Gideon and said, “Go with your strength and save
Israel from the Midianites. I am the one who is sending you.”

15But Gideon answered, “Lord, how can I save Israel? My family group is the
weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least important member of my family.”

16The LORD answered him, “I will be with you. It will seem as if the
Midianites you are fighting are only one man.”

17Then Gideon said to the LORD, “If you are pleased with me, give me proof
that it is really you talking with me. 18Please wait here until I come back to you.
Let me bring my offering and set it in front of you.”

And the LORD said, “I will wait until you return.”

19So Gideon went in and cooked a young goat, and with twenty quarts of
flour, made bread without yeast. Then he put the meat into a basket and the broth
into a pot. He brought them out and gave them to the angel under the oak tree.

20The angel of God said to Gideon, “Put the meat and the bread without yeast
on that rock over there. Then pour the broth on them.” And Gideon did as he was
told. 21The angel of the LORD touched the meat and the bread with the end of the
stick that was in his hand. Then fire jumped up from the rock and completely
burned up the meat and the bread! And the angel of the LORD disappeared!
22Then Gideon understood he had been talking to the angel of the LORD. So
Gideon cried out, “Lord GOD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!”

23But the LORD said to Gideon, “Calm down! Don’t be afraid! You will not

24So Gideon built an altar there to worship the LORD and named it The
LORD Is Peace. It still stands at Ophrah, where the Abiezrites live.

Gideon Tears Down the Altar of Baal

25That same night the LORD said to Gideon, “Take the bull that belongs to
your father and a second bull seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to
Baal, and cut down the Asherah idol beside it. 26Then build an altar to the LORD
your God with its stones in the right order on this high ground. Kill and burn a
second bull on this altar, using the wood from the Asherah idol.”

27So Gideon got ten of his servants and did what the LORD had told him to
do. But Gideon was afraid that his family and the men of the city might see him,
so he did it at night, not in the daytime.

28When the men of the city got up the next morning, they saw that the altar
for Baal had been destroyed and that the Asherah idol beside it had been cut
down! They also saw the altar Gideon had built and the second bull that had been
sacrificed on it. 29The men of the city asked each other, “Who did this?”

After they asked many questions, someone told them, “Gideon son of Joash
did this.”

30So they said to Joash, “Bring your son out. He has pulled down the altar of
Baal and cut down the Asherah idol beside it. He must die!”

31But Joash said to the angry crowd around him, “Are you going to take
Baal’s side? Are you going to defend him? Anyone who takes Baal’s side will be
killed by morning! If Baal is a god, let him fight for himself. It’s his altar that has
been pulled down.” 32So on that day Gideon got the name Jerub-Baal, which
means “let Baal fight against him,” because Gideon pulled down Baal’s altar.

Gideon Defeats Midian

33All the Midianites, the Amalekites, and other peoples from the east joined
together and came across the Jordan River and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.
34But the Spirit of the LORD entered Gideon, and he blew a trumpet to call the
Abiezrites to follow him. 35He sent messengers to all of Manasseh, calling them
to follow him. He also sent messengers to the people of Asher, Zebulun, and
Naphtali. So they also went up to meet Gideon and his men.

36Then Gideon said to God, “You said you would help me save Israel. 37I will
put some wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the wool but all of
the ground is dry, then I will know that you will use me to save Israel, as you
said.” 38And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next
morning and squeezed the wool, he got a full bowl of water from it.

39Then Gideon said to God, “Don’t be angry with me if I ask just one more
thing. Please let me make one more test. Let only the wool be dry while the
ground around it gets wet with dew.” 40That night God did that very thing. Just
the wool was dry, but the ground around it was wet with dew.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version

Jehovah-Shalom: The Lord is Peace (Judges 6:24) – During part of the period of the judges, the Midianites held Israel in subjugation and made raids against Israel’s farming communities, God, through the angel of the Lord, called upon Gideon, a seemingly fearful man, to lead the fight against Israel’s oppressors (vv.1-16). When Gideon, haltingly, asked for a sign – the first of three he would request to confirm his call (vv. 17, 36-40) – the Angel touched the altar with his staff. Fire at once sprang from the altar, consuming the sacrifice, and the Angel of the Lord suddenly vanished (vv.17-21). At this miraculous event Gideon was afraid, realizing that he had seen the holy face of the Angel of the Lord, and that he might be about to die (v.22). God spoke, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die” (v.23). Then Gideon built an altar to God and named it Jehovah-Shalom, “The Lord is Peace” (v. 24).

From the above account we observe:

  1. The holy, almighty presence of the Lord can be a fearful sight to any mortal person – whether an angel, archangel, or Christ Himself in a Christophany (an Old Testament appearance of Christ) who appeared to Gideon (Luke 24: 13-35).

  2. But when God Himself says to us, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die” (v. 23), then we are safe and secure, and all fear may be dismissed.

  3. Christ, before His death, said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give to you” (John 14:27). He was vitally concerned that His followers have peace

    1. with God;

    2. among themselves

    3. within their individual souls and minds

His peace passes all human understanding (Phil. 4:7).

  1. Christ’s coming kingdom will be a kingdom of peace (Rom. 14:17).

  2. His peace is God’s gift, to be received when the sinner accepts Christ as personal Savior. He or she is then justified by faith and has “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1).

We should learn, as did Gideon, that our true peace can only come from Jehovah-Shalom, “The Lord is Peace.”

(From The Life Plan Study Bible)

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